When Bravely Default came out it turned a lot of JRPG tropes on their head. It gave control back to the player, eschewing the strict rules on random encounters and encounter rates.
Heck even the classic turn-based battle system was thrown out with the introduction of the Brave and Default systems.
It's a bit of a shame then that Bravely Second doesn't make the same impact that its predecessor did - but what's here is still a full-fat JRPG experience with loads to love.The not too distant future
Bravely Second takes place a short time after the original game - meaning newcomers should really look to play the original first.
The main protagonist is Yew Geneolgia, a member of the Crystalguard who are sworn to protect Pope Angés - one of the protagonists from Bravely Default.
Of course things go awry quite quickly, Pope Angés is kidnapped by an evil King and Yew takes it upon himself to gather a crew of unlikely heroes and save her from evil's clutches.
It's a typical JRPG set up that some may roll their eyes at, but fans of Bravely Default will be happy knowing they get to follow the adventures of some of their favourite characters once more .
A lot of minor characters from the previous game even get a moment in the spotlight through sidequests which act almost like "Where are they now?" segments.
In battle things are a very familiar affair indeed. The Brave and Default systems are entirely intact - choosing to go Brave will allow you make an extra move in your turn, meaning you'll be stood defenceless when your next turn should've taken place.
Conversely choosing to Default will put you in a defensive stance and give you an extra turn to take when you feel you need it.Brave and second
As before, a majority of the game can be played by simply using all of your Brave Points in your first turn, wiping out random encounters with relative ease.
The game heavily encourages this, as when you finish an enemy team in a single turn you'll be given the option to continue fighting another wave of enemies to gain experience bonuses.
This turns even low-level areas into a perfect training ground - one or two battles won't level you up, but 9 consecutive fights with a 3x experience bonus is well worth your time.
Couple this with the ability to choose the frequency of your encounter rate on the fly and you have a JRPG experience you really can customise to how you play.
Bravely Second still uses the familiar job system too, which has been taken from older Final Fantasy titles.
More jobs and abilities have been added, and can be collected by acquiring Job Asterisks either through the main story or as rewards for completing sidequests.Time sinks
As with Bravely Default, there's a strange waiting-game element to Bravely Second which almost gives it the feel of a free to play mobile title.
In Bravely Default you could assign villagers tasks to fix your destroyed hometown and give you bonuses along the way, in Bravely Second you repair a base on the moon - former home of party member Magnolia Arch.
It works in exactly the same manner, with you assigning tasks such as "fix the Pharma Lab" and "repair the bridge" to inhabitants. These take anywhere between an hour to ninety nine hours, depending on how many people you allocate to the task.
Another waiting-game element is found in Chompcraft, a minigame where you create stuffed toys as part of a production line, earning a unique currency to buy further upgrades .
Chompcraft requires almost constant attention. It's surprisingly addictive and I'd purchased all available upgrades for my production crew after about three hours of playing.Wait for it
But by far the most egregious waiting element the game has included is the titular feature - Bravely Second. Bravely Second allows you to freeze time during battle and attack the enemy without fear of counters or consequences.
The issue is that each move you use during Bravely Second costs Sp points, and Sp points are gathered through either having your 3DS in sleep mode, or microtransactions.
At present servers for microtransactions are not live, but you can assume a full set of Sp points will be a similar price to Bravely Default's microtransactions, around 89p.
If you don't want to pay and want to go the sleep mode option instead then you have to put your 3DS in sleep mode for eight hours - for a single Sp.
Meaning that if you want to make a full four-move turn you have to use 3 Sp and go into "debt" with one - which will take thirty two hours of sleep mode to accrue.But it's not all bad
It's a shame that the system is a huge miss, because as a JRPG Bravely Second is pretty fantastic.
It still has beautiful towns to explore, interesting characters to meet and a JRPG story that might feel a tad familiar but still entertains from beginning to end.Bravely Second might not be as groundbreaking as its predecessor but it's undoubtedly going to be one of the best 3DS games of 2016.
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